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Personal trainers escape ‘voicemail cycle’ and embrace telephone answering services to capture more clients

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After researching a sample of registered Personal Trainers we found that the vast majority spend most of their “earning” hours with clients and that any prospective new clients who call at these times are  typically asked to leave a voicemail (rule number one – never answer your phone during a personal training session!).

At Office Response we have studied the use of voicemail facilities to see how effective, or not, they truly are. You might be surprised to hear that a staggering 79% of people will not leave a voicemail if they are calling to place an order for a product or service for the first time. And the majority of people surveyed expect to be called back the same day if they do leave a voicemail.

Whilst offering voicemail may be the norm for the majority of personal trainers the real question is whether it really provides the solution you need to grow your business, deliver customer satisfaction & optimise your marketing spend? That said we believe that your real challenge is achieving the optimum workload for you and your business. Clearly the busier you are training the less you are available to take valuable new business calls which will ultimately restrict your ability to grow.

One way to break this cycle is to outsource your Telephone Answering to a live Telephone Answering Service. You could employ an assistant or, more reasonably, use the services of a 24/7 Telephone Answering Service. In our experience, not surprisingly, whichever option you go for will be better than voicemail… but we’d love to hear of your experiences either way.

Please add your comments below or, if you would like to learn more about how Office Response could support you and differentiate your business from your competition please contact our Business Development Team on 0845 223 7004

Boom in business for personal trainers! Telephone answering benefits for the festive season and beyond

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The fitness industry is already booming and as we head closer towards the end of the year it’s set to get busier, with increasing new clients looking to feel their best this New Year or to burn off those extra festive treats afterwards!
The 2011 FIA State of the UK Fitness Industry Report has advised that the UK health and fitness industry has maintained a total market value of £3.81 billion.  The Fitness Industry Association (FIA) reports that since the start of the recession in 2008, the fitness industry has grown its total market value by 4% and increased the member base by 2%. continue reading

Will ABS Force 24/7 Legal Services?

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In a recent Law Society Gazette article, Alastair Moyle commented on the importance of marketing management , a point that clearly resonates strongly with Joanna Goodman’s feature “Law Firms Face New Financial Management Challenges”. In her article Joanna quotes Rupert Hawke (FD of Cartwright King) who says “The key is to develop systems and processes that inform operational decision-making”.

The implied focus here being on driving internal efficiencies.

Whilst I agree with Rupert my question is how early in the business process can we start to introduce effective process and exercise real control? The subtext being… did it really need the introduction of ABS to drive consumer focussed change? continue reading

OR’s 24/7 Effort Pays Dividends For Sue Ryder’s Big Wigs Business Challenge!

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As you may have previously read here on the blog, Office Response took part in the Sue Ryder Care Big Wigs Challenge which ran from September 2010 until January this year.
For those of you who may not know, the challenge involves each team being presented with a £50 note, the aim is to raise as much as possible by using continue reading

PPI Calls increased here by 100% in the past 24 hours! Are you prepared?

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Here at Office Response we saw a dramatic rise in call volumes for our legal services clients yesterday, with some clients seeing an increase of more than 100% in call volumes relating to PPI Claims!

The decision handed down at the High Court in London means that the potential compensation bill for mis-sold PPI claims is being estimated at around £4.5bn.
As you can imagine, calls for our clients that specialise in legal services (solicitors and claims specialists) are looking to continue continue reading

What’s the UK’s worst business name?

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Wright-Hassall-SignangeWe all love hearing our names and take offence when people get it wrong. Business names are emotive too and cause problems which are often unforeseen.

I wonder if Wright Hassall Solicitors foresaw the potential for amusement their name creates? Would you be put off using a legal firm that could end up being a “right hassle”? Judging by the size of their offices their name has not stopped their success.

How many fledgling companies consider how simple to say and spell their brand name is before it gets rolled out? Being an outsourcer of call continue reading

Call Handling: How to improve it.

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Boy do some companies do a terrible job answering their calls!

Whilst completing my University degree and working part time answering incoming calls I estimate I’ve answered (roughly) 24,000 calls and I’d like to think I became quite skilled at what I did – perfecting the art of handling all types of calls and in all kinds of situations dealing with a range of callers from the angry to the hysterically.

Now I’ve graduated and I’ve moved on into the mysterious realm of the sales team I am now very much on the other side of the fence. I’ve now made hundreds of calls to different companies and I’m now experiencing all kinds of receptionists and they are not all doing a very good job.

I have pinpointed my top 5 pet peeves continue reading

Will the Police’s tweeting reduce their call volumes?

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Yesterday Manchester Police experimented by “tweeting” about every call they received into their 999 call centre. Was it a cynical attempt to influence the Government not to cut Police budgets, as many commentators suggested, or an exercise in “challenging demand” organised by their Call Centre Manager?

Many of our clients use us to handle overflow calls from their own centres and we always suggest to them to analyse the calls they are getting to see if it is possible to service their callers in ways that don’t involve a phone call.

Yesterdays tweets highlighted that the 999 service is being used for many purposes other than true emergency calls, as Chief Constable Peter Fahy said “We do get calls that are not directly related to our police work such as calls from people with relationship breakdowns, confused people, or sometimes we have callers who just can’t deal with the problems life throws at them.”

Manchester Police’s twitter feeds spurned a number of amusing spoof sites. Some of the spoofs got me chuckling for example, MP24_0’s reports included;

Call 009 – Reported missing child turned up at school. Parents “didn’t think to look there”. Fair enough. #gmp24

Call 002 – Reports of an ice cream vendor dead; found to have been covered in chocolate sauce and nuts. We reckon he’s topped himself #gmp24

Some of the strangest calls seemed to be some of the real ones;

Call 912 Information regarding an annoying letter #gmp24

Call 849 – Attempted theft of a caravan, could have happened anytime in the past two weeks, Rochdale #gmp24

I wonder if yesterday’s publicity will have the desired effect of making people think twice before dialling 999 today. Or was the whole episode simply to do with making sure the government don’t cut Police budgets too hard?

3 Great Reasons not to use a Telephone Answering Service.

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Much to my bitter disappointment not every organisation needs us. You could be missing zillions of calls and you should still keep your money in your pocket and not spend it with us. So why not?

Well it’s because, as I spend much time explaining to our new staff, nobody wants telephones answering they want the benefits it brings and you might not want the benefits we’ll give you.

So let’s look together at some of the reasons not to buy our call answering services;

1. “I don’t want any more business”

I’m constantly pushing our business forward but there are business owners out there missing calls, chucking new sales opportunities away and they are completely happy with the situation. They know about the unanswered calls and they’re just not bothered. And it’s because they don’t want the hassle and stress involved with expansion.

Lee our web developer is a bit like that. He’s often difficult to track down by phone but he’s now worked for himself (and on his own) for 6 years. He strikes me that he’s very happy with his lot. He’s got no staff, no pressure and no hassle.

So if you don’t want to expand, don’t contact us.

2. “All of my new clients are recommended to me”

Lots of our competitors spin the old yarn that “such and such” a % of callers won’t leave messages on answerphones. It’s a load of rubbish, rhubarb and they’re downright wrong.

As we’ve blogged about before lots of people leave messages on voicemail and the callers most likely to leave messages are the people who already know you and the potential new clients who have been told all about your wonderful products and services by your existing customers. The other side of the story is that the people most unlikely to leave a message are the people responding to your marketing who have no relationship with you.

These referred enquirers however will jump through a lot of hoops to get to you so you don’t need us to capture your calls.

3. “If they can’t get through they’ll ring back”

In lots of situations this is the case. If you’re number 45 in the call queue at the Tax Office or you need to make a claim on your motor insurance then you’ll wait. You might not be happy about it but if you absolutely have to talk to them you’ll keep calling.

Likewise if you are the only supplier of diamond encrusted garden gnomes and there’s a big demand then you don’t need to spend money with us improving your call handling efficiency.

However if you are in a competitive market like the rest of us then maybe you’ll want to give the best service you can.

I’ll be posting about some other good reasons not to use an outsourced call handling company later in the week but feel free to add your own ideas.

Martin Blain
Sales Director

Telephone Answering Tips

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 The telephone is still an important point of contact with customers and the way you answer your company’s phone will form your customer’s first impression of your business. These telephone answering tips will ensure that callers know they’re dealing with a winning business – of course, if you dont want to do it yourself Office Response can handle all your calls for you:

 1) Answer all incoming phone calls as quickly as possible – this shows whoever is calling you that you value their call.

2) When you answer the phone be warm and enthusiastic. Your voice at the end of the telephone line is sometimes the only impression of your company a caller will get.

3) When answering the phone,welcome callers courteously and identify yourself and your organization. Say, for instance, “Good morning. ABC Construction’, Andrew speaking, How may I help you?” No one should ever have to ask if they’ve reached such and such a business.

4) Talk clearly, keep your voice volume moderate, and speak slowly and clearly when answering the phone, so your caller can understand you easily.

5) Control your language. Don’t use slang or jargon. Instead of saying, “OK”, or “No problem”, for instance, say “Certainly”, “Very well”, or “All right”. If you’re a person who uses fillers (known as vias) when you speak, such as “uh huh”, “um”, or phrases such as “like” or “you know”, train yourself carefully not to use these when you speak on the phone.

 6) Train your voice and vocabulary to be positive when phone answering, even on a “down” day. For example, rather than saying, “I don’t know”, say, “Let me find out about that for you.”

7) Take telephone messages completely and accurately. If there’s something you don’t understand or can’t spell, such as a person’s surname, ask the caller to repeat it or spell it for you. Then make sure the message gets to the intended recipient.

 8) Always ask the caller if it’s all right to put her on hold when answering the phone and don’t leave people on hold. Provide callers on hold with progress reports as the call progresses. Offer them choices if possible, such as “That line is still busy. Will you continue to hold or should I have ________ call you back?”

9) Train everyone else who answers the phone to answer the same way, including other family members if you’re running a home-based business. Check on how your business’s phone is being answered by calling in and seeing if the phone is being answered in a professional manner. If they don’t pass the test, go over this telephone answering tips list with them.